6 September 1910
Pioneer South African artist Gerard Bhengu was born at an outstation of Mariannhill Mission Station at Centecow, Bulwer district in Southern Natal. Bhengu's remarkable skill attracted wide attention from a largely white patronage. Despite the support of some of these patrons, he was ultimately prevented from embarking on formal art training for fear that it would spoil and corrupt his 'natural' gift. As a Christian, he was a virtual outcast in terms of his own culture, but at the same time he was considered by whites to be a part it, and called upon to accurately record it. His paintings were exclusively in watercolour and sepia ink on paper. Bhengu's earliest paintings and drawings date from 1926. His art works are seldom inscribed with a date, although they are almost always signed. He never received formal training in fine art because it was believed that it would ruin his natural style. He died in 1990 in Umlazi, Durban. His paintings have been part of the art collections of Museum Africa, the University of Fort Hare and the Albany museum in Graham’s Town.


Loots A. (2001) The Early Pioneer Artists of South Africa  Gerard Bhengu ( 1910 - 1990 )  from V Gallery [online] Available at: www.vgallery.co.za [Accessed on 26 August 2012]


Life with Art Gerald Bhengu [online] Available at: www.lifewithart.com [Accessed on 26 August 2012]


Sack, S. (1988). The Neglected Tradition, Johannesburg: Johannesburg Art Gallery.